On the Creation Process (or Why I Prefer Revising)

Photo credit: Dean Hochman on Flickr
If you read my blog here with any frequency or follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I haven’t written any new projects for a while, because I’ve been heavily into revision mode. You probably also know that I did a thing last year where I wrote two new manuscripts back-to-back even though I already had another manuscript waiting to get revised, which is why for the past eight months I’ve been revising and revising and revising.

I’m not done with that, but I have started brainstorming and plotting something new. And even though I probably won’t write it for quite a while, I convinced myself that plotting it out now would be a good exercise.

I haven’t changed my mind, necessarily, but boy. I forgot how difficult it is to create something out of nothing.

Plotting, for me, I think is the most difficult part of the writing process, because that’s the time when I have literally nothing to go on besides a few vague ideas. That’s when I have to take a sentence and a few bullet points of fragments and blow it up into a full, plausible outline. And to be honest, it takes a lot of staring, (spinning my chair), and asking myself, “Okay…now what?”

This usually takes several days for me, at a minimum. And I have been making progress, which is great, but wow it feels like slow going. Still! Progress is progress.

The next step, of course, after finally finishing the outline is the first draft, which is probably tied for “hardest part of the writing process.” Though at least when it’s time to first draft this project, which will not be immediately, I’ll have something to go on.

But all of this has kind of been a concrete reminder of why I’ve really come to love revising so much. Because yeah, revisions are a ton of work, but taking what I already have and expanding it, and pushing it to its limits, and delving into the details and layers and nuances? It’s fascinating. And it’s so exciting because that’s the step where the distance between the cool story I imagined and the story on the page becomes smaller and smaller. That’s where I really start to see the story reach its potential—and become even more than I first thought it would.

And to me, that process never stops being totally incredible and worth the hard work.

But first I have to figure out where the story is going. And then I have to write it. And as difficult as those steps are, they all become totally worth it, too.

What’s the hardest part of the writing process to you?

Twitter-sized bites:

What's the hardest part of the writing process for you? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet
Writer @Ava_Jae says the hardest part of the process for her is plotting and first drafting. What do you think? (Click to tweet)

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